Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, if you are being forced to pay a debt that you are not complete sure of, you have the rights to dispute the debt and get the actual details from the CA. They will contact the original creditor and get info on the debt for which you have disputed.

The FDCPA is your most powerful weapon against any unfair or illegal collection practices. Each and every debt collector is required to follow the three basic rules mentioned in the FDCPA.

  • Important FDCPA Rules:

1) Legal notification letters

All collection agents and certain attorneys must comply with section 12 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and must send the debt collection letters using the right words as mentioned in the laws. Section 807 explains the sixteen specific examples of false and misleading tactics. Anyone violating the laws can face a fine up to $1,000 per violation along with punitive damages.

2) How to take actions!

The FDCPA requires every debt collection company to follow the laws and contact the right person for their debts and collect the accurate amount. Collectors have the legal rights to locate a person by “skiptracing” but sometimes, they end up calling the wrong person because of the inaccurate information and record-keeping. It’s not illegal to contact a wrong person by mistake, but if the collection company has been well notified that they are calling the wrong person and must stop all their collection attempts, they must prohibit all their actions. In case, the collectors still continue calling the wrong person even after being informed, it is a serious violation of the federal laws, just like anyone using harassing and abusive collection tactics especially if the debtor has already disputed the validity of the debt.

  • What to do if the calls continue?

After you have sent a written dispute to the collection agency regarding the validity of the debt, the collectors must stop all collection efforts and cease all contacts until have validated the account according to terms mentioned in Section 809.

If a bill collector continues to demand payments without validating the debt, he can be sued for violating the FDCPA. The debt collectors have the room to continue all collection attempts until your written dispute is receiving by them. If you don’t dispute within the 30 days time frame, the debt will be considered valid and the might take you to the court. That’s why it’s important to send letters through certified mail with return receipt requested. You will have a proof with date and time and signature from the collection company that they have received your letter. Keep all written correspondences including envelopes and mail receipts. This information will come handy when you are filing a case against a debt collector violating the FDCPA. In most states, recording debt collector’s phone calls secretly is legal. Check with your state laws before recording the calls. To be in the safe side, always let the collector know that you are recording the conversation for legal purpose. When you have the proof, contact your state attorney general and file a complaint against the illegal company.

Bills collectors are able to validate the debts if it’s a recent delinquent account. There is every possibility of getting the correct information from the creditor. But if the debt is few years old, it becomes harder to validate because of the actual information of the debt passing from one company to another and original creditor deleting some accounts or records from their system. An original creditor will sell age old debts to junk debt buyers and thus it becomes almost tough to validate the account with accurate information. The actual information gets lost on the way. The FDCPA doesn’t require collectors to tell when a certain account was sold to another company. Therefore, different companies might call you over a period of time for the same account. Always ensure that you dispute the debt whenever you are called by a different bill collector and try to get the accurate information.

Knowledge is power. Be well versed of the FDCPA laws and your rights so that you are better prepared to deal with collection situations as they come up. Sometimes, the collectors get nasty in their collections. Don’t be intimidated! Protect yourself by being aware of the laws and report any kind of violations to your state attorney general.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 19th, 2007 at 6:19 am and is filed under Collection Agency, Creditors, Debt. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments Off on How to stop bill collectors harassing you over inaccurate or outdated debts

Comments are closed.